So, I just got back from a Vanderwell family reunion.   It was a collection of relatives who all, three generations up from me, share the same great grand parents (well, for my generation that’s what they were).   It’s been 100 years this summer since Hugo and Francina brought 9 kids from the “old country” to America.

I learned many things today about my family……

– I learned that my grandpa never got higher than a 6th grade education but was the president of the school board.

– I learned that infant mortality in that generation was very high.   I think it was my great grandpa’s brother and his wife had 7 of their 11 kids die before the age of 5.  That made me think of infant mortality rates in Haiti.

– I learned that hard work, a hard life and a lot of challenges fill the story of the Vanderwells – but also the ability to laugh, to love and to see the beauty in things too.

But I think the thing that I learned that was most important today came at devotions at lunch time.  One of my second cousins led it and she told us about a podcast she had been listening to (I’m sorry, I forgot the name).  The minister in that podcast was talking about Hebrews 11 and 12 – and the legacy that we have the ability to leave to the generations beyond us.   To our kids, to our kids kids and so forth.

Here’s the part that still has me thinking…… He said, “Don’t ask yourself, what do I want to be when I grow up” or “What do I want to do with my life?”  Or “What’s my 5 year plan?”

Ask yourself, “What’s my 100 year plan?”   

Uh excuse me, but I don’t think I’m going to be around at the age of 150(+)……

His point was this.   Ask yourself, what do I want to leave to my children?   What do I want to leave with my grand children?  What changes do I want to see in God’s church?  What do I want to change in my world, in this world so that _______ happens in 100 years?

And then figure out God’s next step in getting there…..

Whoa, God.   I’m not used to thinking that big.

You want me to imagine what difference I want to make in 100 years and I’m worried about how to pay the bills next month?

You want me to plan what a difference I can make in my great grandchildren when I’ve still got two kids in high school?

You want me to figure out what I…….

God told Noah build a boat.   A really big boat.   No where near water.

God told Abraham – go.  Oh and I’ll tell you later where you’ll go.

God told Paul – be bold and courageous.

And the list could go on for hours.

But, God.  Me?  You want me to think in a 100 year plan?

I can’t do that without Your help.  That’s way too big for me.

But guess what.  100 years after this couple named Hugo and Francina brought 9 kids to America in search of something better, guess what.   Their grand kids and their great grand kids and their great great grand kids have found it.   They haven’t “arrived” but because of what happened 100 years ago, they have a path.

There were many many examples today of how God used Hugo and Francina and came up with a 100 year plan.   Many big things, many small things, some joy filled, many pain filled, all went into that plan, all went into that path.

So God, I guess what you’re saying is, “Don’t worry.  Follow me, even if it seems crazy.   Even if it makes no sense.  I’ve got this.  And just like I did for Noah, for Abraham, for Paul, for Hugo and Francina, I’ve got this for you.  Step out in faith.”

“And watch what a difference we can make in 100 years.”

Thanks, God.   I think.

Tom